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Festivus Pole in Oklahoma State Capitol Approved

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on December 17, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Festivus is a fictional holiday invented by a character on the sitcom Seinfeld about 20 years ago. But it will be recognized by the state of Oklahoma and others this month, according to the Associated Press.

A Festivus pole wrapped in the rainbow colors of gay pride and topped with a disco ball will be on display in the Oklahoma Capitol rotunda, right by a giant nutcracker and a sleigh with gifts. Approval for the pole came just months after the Supreme Court ruled that permanent Ten Commandments tributes or displays in the Capitol violated the requirement for separation of church and state. But Festivus is not a religious holiday.

Festivus (Almost) Everywhere

Other states are also approving Festivus poles, including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, and Washington. The Festivus pole has been up in Florida before and was invented by Chaz Stevens to highlight gay rights.

The first Festivus pole was made of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans but with the advancements in gay rights in 2015, Stevens created the fancier rainbow and disco ball version. He is pleased with the symbolism surrounding the Oklahoma Festivus pole particularly. "Out goes the Ten Commandments. In comes the gay pride Festivus pole. It's a beautiful way to talk about 2015."

The pole pays homage both to gay rights and the Seinfeld episode that spawned Festivus. The fanciful TV holiday is celebrated with feats of strength and the airing of grievances.

Pole Procedure

Chaz Stevens applies to states for permission to display his polls, not always successfully. In Arkansas, the Secretary of State's office denied his request, citing several problems with the application, including failure to comply with trademark law and a lack of specifics on how the pole would be anchored.

According to John Estus, spokesman for the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services, which oversees state building, Stevens' Festivus application was considered just like any such request. "It's the same thing as reserving space: You fill out a form, it's evaluated, and it's approved or denied," Estus said. "This is no different than somebody standing with a sign in the rotunda."

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